The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to transmitting power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, when he was traveling out of the country, had created a vacuum that would be filled by a ‘cabal’ in the presidency.
Buhari, last week left the country for United Kingdom for “private visit” and expected to return on May 5, 2019
Many Nigerians have expressed displeasure on the refusal of the president to transmit a letter to the national assembly
The main opposition party, PDP in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan criticised the president’s action, saying it seeks to vacate our constitutional order and foist an authoritarian system on our country.
“President Muhammadu Buhari’s private voyage out of the country without transmitting power, as required by the constitution, is an act of dereliction, which confirms that the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Presidency are not interested in governance but seeks to vacate our constitutional order and foist an authoritarian system on our country,” the statement read.
PDP further said Buhari’s action was never expected, especially at this critical time of security challenges in the country.
“Mr. President’s abandoning of governance, particularly at this critical time when our nation is facing grave security and economic challenges, signposts the level of impunity and recklessness that will characterize our nation in the next four years, if the stolen Presidential mandate is not retrieved from the APC.”
PDP said the action of Buhari simply contradicted the section 145 of the constitution, which requires him to transmit power to the vice president, whenever he’s embarking on such visit
“The import of this relegation of Section 145 is also a clear absence of a constitutional command structure which leaves our nation at the mercy of the extremely corrupt, vicious and anti-people cabal with whom President Buhari presided over the most corrupt and most incompetent administration, which wrecked our economy, divided our nation and opened her up for escalated insecurity,” it said.
Human right lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) on Saturday, also described the trip as “illegal”, saying that Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution stated expressly that “whenever the President was traveling out of the country on vacation, he must transmit a letter to the National Assembly.”
The senior lawyer also condemned the refusal of the presidency to disclose the President’s mission to the UK, being the “chief public officer”.
According to him: “No doubt, the President is entitled to embark on local and foreign trips to attend the engagements of family members and friends like other citizens. But the President is not permitted by the constitution to abandon the enormous responsibilities of his office for 10 days on account of a private visit to the United Kingdom or any other country whatsoever.
But Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, disclosed on Channels TV programme on Sunday that the president did not violate any law by not informing the lawmakers, saying that it was unnecessary for President Muhammadu Buhari to inform the national assembly of his private trip to the UK.
“The president didn’t make a mistake by taking off without writing a letter to the national assembly because it was unnecessary. In some of the leading democracies, it’s conventional that in fact, a prime minister can be asked to leave the public space for private time at least once in a month in some countries,” he said.
He explained that the 1999 constitution stipulates 21 days as “the back-off point” for the president and “that is where infringement is caused”.
“But as it is now, there is no constitutional or legal infraction that has happened. So, the president is doing his work from wherever he is,” he said.
Mr. Shehu added that the president can operate anywhere he is, all over the world.